WRIGHT DETERMINED TO MAKE AMENDS ON RETURN TO SCOTTISH SOIL

Peter Wright is determined to give his Scottish supporters something to cheer when the 2024 BetMGM Premier League heads to Aberdeen on Thursday.

Night 14 of the darting roadshow will see quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final played over the best of 11 legs at the P&J Live, as the race for Play-Off qualification continues.

Wright is mathematically out of contention for a top-four finish following his quarter-final defeat in Liverpool last week, although the Scot may still have a significant say on the Play-Off picture.

The two-time World Champion will take on Michael Smith in Thursday’s opening quarter-final, with Smith currently four points adrift of fourth-placed Michael van Gerwen.

Smith has won both of the pair’s meetings in 2024, but a return to home soil provides Wright with the necessary incentive to buck that trend.

“I am really looking forward to it. Hopefully I can win the night for my fans,” said Wright, the solitary Scottish representative in this year’s eight-player field.

“You don’t want to let the crowd down, you don’t want to let your country down, but I feel good, and I believe I can do it.

“I’ve gone back to choosing the darts I want on the night, and I’m in a better place mentally for doing that, which is what I’m going to carry on doing.

“The pressure is going to be on the players fighting for the Play-Offs, not me anymore, so I can go up and enjoy it and hopefully perform at my best.”

League leader Luke Littler or Nathan Aspinall will await the winner of that clash in the semi-finals, as the stablemates renew their rivalry in the evening’s second encounter.

Littler fought back from 5-2 down to stun Aspinall in the Night 13 semi-finals, which leaves the World Matchplay champion in third spot, five points above St Helens star Smith.

Littler, meanwhile, went on to celebrate his third nightly victory of the season in Liverpool, before capping off a memorable few days with his second European Tour title at last weekend’s Austrian Darts Open.

The 17-year-old is now setting his sights on securing top spot on his Premier League debut, as he arrives in Aberdeen five points clear of his closest challenger Luke Humphries.

“Top spot is my target now,” insisted Littler, who has won five of his six meetings against Aspinall in 2024.

“It would mean everything to finish top [of the table], but I’m just really happy to be where I am now, five points clear.

“I was playing with complete freedom in Liverpool, especially in the semi-finals against Nathan, and I managed to get over the line which has given me so much confidence.

“I am taking everything in my stride. I’ve gained so much experience in this year’s Premier League, and it’s definitely helped me as a player.”

The evening’s third quarter-final tussle will see Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross go head-to-head, in a repeat of last week’s semi-final in Merseyside.

Cross snapped his seven-match losing streak in the Premier League with victories over Smith and Van Gerwen at the M&S Bank Arena, and he’s confident of finishing his campaign on a high.

The 2018 World Champion is ten points behind reigning champion Van Gerwen, who is not yet assured of his Play-Off spot, despite his haul of four nightly wins this season.

“The Premier League is a tough school, but I have loved being here,” declared Cross, a runner-up to Van Gerwen in the 2019 showpiece.

“The last six weeks were disappointing results wise, but I cannot grumble. I have really enjoyed being back in the mix.

“I had a three-week spell where I was a little bit off, and it cost me. It’s not quite worked out, but I’m not here to make excuses.

“There’s still plenty to play for over the next three weeks, and I think my game is in a good place, so I believe I can be a bit of a spoiler now.”

Thursday’s remaining last eight showdown sees Gerwyn Price and Humphries collide, with the world number one aiming to return to winning ways following successive defeats to Aspinall.

Nevertheless, Humphries is still poised to seal a Play-Off berth on his Premier League debut, while 2023 runner-up Price would see his hopes of qualification ended with defeat against the World Champion.

The 2024 BetMGM Premier League will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2024 BetMGM Premier League

Night 14 – P&J Live, Aberdeen

Thursday May 2

Quarter-Finals

Peter Wright v Michael Smith

Luke Littler v Nathan Aspinall

Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross

Gerwyn Price v Luke Humphries

Semi-Finals

Wright/Smith v Littler/Aspinall

Van Gerwen/Cross v Price/Humphries

Final

Wright/Smith/Littler/Aspinall v Van Gerwen/Cross/Price/Humphries

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